From andouillette to ratatouille – part 1

The area of Gastronomy contains many words from the French language. Not surprising, considering that France is often associated as the country of culinary art. Even the word cuisine is French!

Speaking of which, French cuisine tends to be somewhat of a generic term for any specialty that, many of which come from very different regions of France. Needless to say, these specific regions are proud of their specialties and they are always willing to boast about them.

Ready for a culinary Tour de France?
In the North of France, you must try the “moules frites” ideally the first weekend of September. During this five-day festival, this dish will be ordered more than at any other time of the year and heaps of empty mussels (moules) can be seen outside restaurants – the bigger the better!

Would you think you know the name of the North-East region of France? It might surprise you, but you actually do: It is called Champagne and this is indeed where the famous sparkling wine comes from.
Further south, some 150 km east of Paris is the town of Troyes the contested capital of the “andouillette”, a spicy pork sausage made of tripe. A very serious matter, the andouillette has its own fan-club: AAAAA (Association Amicale des Amateurs d’Andouillette Authentique) or Amicable Association of Lovers of Authentic Andouillette.

A little further down, you will find the fair city of Dijon, which you doubtlessly immediately associated with mustard –and rightfully so! It is actually the main industry of the region and an essential economic factor.

Dijon is in the region of Bourgogne, better known as Burgundy in English. Burgundy is also famous for its wine, but especially for a dish that has become a symbol of French gastronomy: escargots. Now you know where the escargots in your plate come from, menus usually state “escargots de Bourgogne”.

And going West…
Now to the West of France. Barely two hours away from Paris lies the region of Sarthe, where you can taste the “rillettes du Mans”. Rillettes are a sort of pâté, usually made from pork but sometimes poultry or even salmon. The preparation can include anchovies, onions or pretty much anything you like! In Quebec, Canada, there are similar to “cretons”.

Our last stop is in the northern part of France with Bretagne – or Brittany. Many delicious dishes are to be found there, yet one stands out from the crowd. If you hear “crêpes”, you probably start thinking Nutella, jam or chocolate sauce. Of course, you will find those in Brittany, there are the traditionally made ones but also some made with “farine de sarrasin” (buckwheat flour) that make the crêpes darker and less sweet. These are called “galettes” and are then served with ham, cheese, mushrooms and a fried egg , as more of a snack or savoury treat rather than a dessert– nothing is more delicious than a “galette bretonne”.

Get ready to do more food travelling next week!


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